Appalachian Regional Commission Announces $44.4 Million to Diversify Region’s Coal-Impacted Economies

Washington, D.C., - Today, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced a $44.4 million investment package to expand and diversify the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities through the POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. These 54 awards are projected to create or retain over 5,700 jobs, leverage more than $39 million in private investment, create and/or retain 2,940 businesses, and train thousands of workers and student within the broadband, entrepreneurship, substance abuse recovery, tourism and other industry sectors across coal-impacted communities in nine Appalachian states. 

“The downturn of the coal market has been devastating to Appalachian communities, especially those that relied on coal extraction and related supply chains for generations. POWER grants are playing a critical role in supporting these communities as they diversify economies, invest in growth-oriented infrastructure, train a next-generation workforce, and ingrain resiliency and hope into their local fabric,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas. “Ensuring a prosperous future in coal-impacted communities is something Appalachia will do together. I am very proud of the leadership and innovation shown by this round of POWER grantees.”

More than $14.6 million, or 33 percent, of these investments will develop business incubators, increase access to capital, and provide other services to advance entrepreneurship in Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. 

KCEOC Community Action Partnership, Inc. in Gray, KY was awarded $1,500,000 for the Workforce Training Center project. The project will construct a Work Ready Training Center (WRTC) and offer trade, certificate, and post-secondary education provided by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. Fast-track programs will allow local and distance students to receive training in the fields of healthcare, technology, advanced manufacturing, and transportation/logistics. A partnership between KCEOC and the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program will enable the WRTC to begin attaining goals and outcomes within the first three months after completion of construction. The new WRTC is expected to create 10 jobs in faculty and staff, while improving 500 workers and serving 1,400 students. Additional funding for the project comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

More than $8.3 million, or 19 percent, of these investments will focus on workforce-to-recovery and other comprehensive strategies to strengthen the recovery ecosystem in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Mountain Comprehensive Care Center (MCCC) in Prestonsburg, KY was awarded $1,500,000 for the Big Sandy Healthy Workforce project. This funding will support renovating Osbourne Elementary School in Floyd County, KY to construct a substance abuse treatment center that will serve five economically distressed counties (Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, Martin, and Pike). The project will create short-term, long-term, and outpatient substance abuse treatment opportunities, as well as wrap-around support services that emphasize workforce training, education, skills development, and post-treatment job placement. Workforce Specialists will collaborate with the Eastern Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (a prior POWER grantee) and the Kentucky Works Program to ensure that participants have access to the resources and opportunities associated with successful job placement. The creation of MCCC’s new facility is expected to create 27 new jobs while serving 200 patients per year

A complete list of today's announced awards, as well as more information about ARC’s work in diversifying the economy in Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities, is available at